There are several factors that can result in bad breath. Strong foods and beverages like onions, garlic or coffee are easily resolved by observing good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing daily; using a mouthwash; and for more immediate needs, a breath mint. But many cases of bad breath are attributed to dental problems that are best resolved with the help of your dentist.
Halitosis can be due to gum disease, plaque build-up, dental decay or a combination of these. Plaque build-up is the result of bacteria that is allowed to stay on teeth and gums. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene through daily flossing and brushing with a fluoridated tooth paste or gel along with a fluoridated mouthwash will help to control the build-up of plaque. However, the only way to remove plaque and tartar that has been allowed to grow is with a professional cleaning by your dental provider.
Throat and sinus infections can also be a major cause of a sour smell emanating from the mouth. Seeing your dentist is the best way to pinpoint the origin of bad breath and treating problems like dental decay, which ultimately may save additional expense and possibly tooth loss, or the need for a root canal.
Gingivitis, commonly referred to as gum disease or the more serious periodontitis, is treatable in many ways. Depending on the severity of your case, a deep cleaning referred to as root planing and scaling allows the dentist to go beneath the surface of the tooth and remove the dangerous plaque that has accumulated. In more advanced cases, antibiotics or oral surgery might be needed to correct the problem. Gum disease, if left untreated, not only causes bad breath, but can result in tooth loss.
Another major contributor to halitosis is tobacco use. Dentists point to smoking as a primary cause of periodontal disease, so in addition to the act of smoking itself causing bad breath, it may lead to gum disease.
Once your teeth have been professionally cleaned and examined for potential decay or disease, other options available to treat bad breath include tongue scrapers to remove bacteria that can grow on the tongue. However, maintaining healthy gums and teeth is a good start for curing bad breath, and can be initiated by a visit to our dental team serving Long Island for a professional cleaning and needed treatment.